The report, published on April 26, put the US at the top of the list with the highest number of breaches
A report published by security solutions firm Symantec stated that as many as 7.1 billion identities have been leaked by cyber criminals through data breaches all over the world in the last 8 years, which is basically close to one for every person on the planet. Published on Wednesday, April 26, the study, known as the Internet Security Threat Report, also added that in 2016, that number was 1.1 billion, which is almost double of what it was the year before, roughly 563.8 million identities.
In the last two years, however, the report showed that the number of data breach incidents had actually been on the decline, from 1211 in 2015 to 1209 in 2016. Prior to that, however, the number of major breaches had been on the rise, from 11 breaches in 2014, to 13 in 2015, and 15 in 2016, which led to the theft of over 10 million identities.
The report placed the United States at the top of the list, with the highest number of breaches by country, coming to 1023, as well as the highest number of identities stolen by country, with France occupying the second position, although it had only four breaches in 2016. India, on the other hand, ranked fifth on the list, with eight breaches last year. With such a large population, high rate of technological adoption, and abundance of companies based in the country, along with stringent legal requirements for reporting data breaches, it is easy to see why the US is at the top of the list.
Symantec Director – Asia Pacific and Japan, Tarun Kaura, also stated that the lack of legal requirements in certain territories also contributes largely to several data breaches not being reported and passing under the radar. Symantec found that the use of emails as an infection point has also risen, with one out of 131 emails containing a malicious link or attachment, which is the highest rate in the last five years. Besides that, with the size and scale of cyber-attacks on the rise, cybercriminals are also using new techniques to spread malware to users using things like social media, and with the use of smartphones on the rise, they are concentrating on phones rather than computers.
Additionally, 2016 also saw the rise of ransomware and turning into a serious problem all over the world, becoming one of the most thriving businesses for criminals. The report also found that there was a noted 36 percent increase in global ransomware attacks, with 64 percent of American ransomware victims ready to pay the ransom, compared to 34 percent globally. The average ransom demanded also increased by 266 percent, to roughly USD 1077 per victim, from USD 294 last year. In the list of regions affected most by ransomware, India ranked fifth, with the US maintaining its first position, followed by Japan, Italy, and Canada.